COVID-19 and the need for social distancing has placed greater importance on isolation and entertaining oneself indoors with familiar faces, and yet, with winter inactivity it is important to push yourself to be active and outdoors as much as possible despite the cold. Below are 6 great walks that can be completed in about an hour or so, depending on whether you get side tracked by the great restaurants listed, all of which have outdoor seating if you can stand the cold long enough for a hot drink or snack.
Debrecen’s Main Square – Kossuth Square – is the very heart of the city, a real community place and the venue of several outdoor festivals and cultural events throughout the year but during December the square is lit up by 200,000 Christmas lights making the walk so much more interesting.
The square features an iconic group of statues erected to commemorate important figures from history, the most impressive of which is Lajos Kossuth. Take time to notice the huge mosaic depicting the city’s coat of arms, it is comprised of 180,000 pieces of Venetian glass. No walk in the center can be complete without admiring the buildings as well, the Art deco and Nouveau styé buildings along the high street from the square, such as the Hotel Aranybika.
Although the Christmas market is cancelled this year, typically this is where it takes place and from next year it will be extended to the adjoining Dósa Nádor Square.
Dósa Nádor Square
Adjacent to Kossuth Square is Dorsa Nádor Square, connected by several pedestrianized streets as part of a pedestrian zone which this square is also part of. The square was only recently pedestrianized, rejuvenated, reopening in 2020, and is now full of greenery and is a useful space for events along with an interesting advanced pulsating fountain display which the kids absolutely love! The connected flower street was also renovated this year and so worth seeing if you’ve not visited Debrecen in a while. The Christmas light display has also been extended to this square and is worth checking out over the winter period if walking in the evening.
The square is close to several great restaurants, with it being a short walk to Csokonai Restaurant or Vintage World, both have outdoor seating.
In 1815 the city developer designed the “public promenade” (today’s Simonyi út), at the same time, large plots of land were put up for sale, these ran the entire length of the road, ready for development. Over the years large villas were built along the road and now is considered one of the most exclusive roads in the city, lined by trees and large villas of different styles.
It’s well worth a walk from the city at this time of the year because the trees are bare making it easy to see the impressive villas. The walk only takes 30 minutes from Kossuth Square to the great forest. The road has wide paths on both sides of the road and a cycle lane on the left side when heading towards the forest.
All great cities can be identified by famous parks. In the case of Debrecen, this is called Nagyerdei Park Forest, and is famous for being Hungary’s first conservation area.
SInce it is only a ten-minute tram ride from downtown (or 30 minute walk if you’d rather avoid public transportation), the park offers total peace and quiet in the shade of hundred-year-old trees as well as countless entertainment options.
You will definitely enjoy negotiating the meandering footpaths, designed by landscape architects, no matter if you explore the secrets of the woods on your own or with kids in tow. Your adventures along the trails will be made even more fun thanks to the Landart pieces, which make use of the forms and “props” of their natural environment to provide a unique visual experience.
At the entrance of the Park is Krudy’s Restaurant, a hot favorite that has outdoor seating and is super convenient. It sits on Medgyessy promenade and the adjacent literary sculpture park located to each side of it, a great way to finish your walk with a bit of literary culture and great food.
Opposite Krudy’s is the Aquaticam Hotel and thermal bath, a great spot to ease away the winter aches and pains and raise spirits up above the winter lows.
The Mist Theatre + Stadium
The Zoo and themepark are closed at this time of year and fountains shut off but the area still holds a great walk around the stadium. The area is popular with runners because around the entire circumference of the Stadium is a running track which takes you up high among the tree tops. Since there are no leaves on the trees it provides great visibility (weather permitting). After a good walk, or run, why not stop for some food at the Grande Bosco Restaurant, it serves some of the best pizza in the city.
University Walk + Botanical Gardens
The University of Debrecen main building is an impressive sight to behold, its size is awe inspiring to say the least. As soon as you leave the Great Forest park (there are many entrances to the park so be sure to check the map) it appears from among the trees in the huge square where it dominates. If you walk through the University campus behind the main building you may find that the surroundings elicits feelings of nostalgia for times past in higher education institutions of learning. It is a quiet tranquil place with lots of trees lining the campus roads and squares.
At the far side of the campus you will come to the Agora Science park, and adjacent to it the Botanical gardens. While the Botanical gardens may be closed this time of year you can still take a stroll around the gardens to the rear of the Agora science park which backs onto the botanical gardens.
All of the above suggestions can be walked in a single long afternoon if walking is your thing, however for most people, one or two of these areas should be sufficient for a healthy winter excursion.
You will surely enjoy a hot thermal bath all the more to sooth your tired legs and enjoy your meal all the more, thereafter.